One of the more controversial – and unconstitutional – components of health care reform President Barack Obama signed into law yesterday is Congress’ mandate that individuals purchase health insurance or face a fine.

The Heritage Foundation has documented that there is no provision in the Constitution empowering Congress to force Americans to buy a good or service. What’s more, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office agrees the mandate is entirely unprecedented.

So where does Congress get the authority to justify that provision? On Friday, went to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) for answers:

CNSNEWS: “What part of the Constitution do you think gives Congress the authority to mandate individuals to purchase health insurance?”

Rep. Conyers: “Under several clauses. The good and welfare clause, and a couple others.”

The “Good and Welfare” clause simply doesn’t exist. It’s nowhere to be found in the Constitution. reports:

The word “good” only appears once in the Constitution, in Article 3, Section 1, which deals with the Judicial Branch, not the powers of Congress. Article 3, Section 1 says in part: “The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.”

As an aside, Rep. Conyers has a law degree, and his committee is responsible for overseeing the federal court system, which in turn interprets and applies the law of the land.